To speak of the people is to speak of madmen, for the people is a monster full of confusion and error, and its vain beliefs are as far from truth as is Spain from India ... Experience shows that things rarely come to pass according to the expectations of the multitude ... The reason is that the effects ... commonly depend on the will of the few, whose intentions and purposes are nearly always different from those of the many.
~ Francesco Guicciardini, History, III, page 104, as quoted in Will Durant, The Renaissance, page 547. Guicciardini was a renowned historian during the Italian Renaissance.